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Thursday, Governor Kay Ivey announced more plans for reopening the state and announced a partnership with Google and Apple to make an app to help trace coronavirus in Alabama.
Currenlty the app is not ready for people to download yet. Once an app is ready, you’ll need to change your privacy settings for it to work. Google and Apple both say you will need to opt-in to the tracing system and no one can track you without your consent. This type of privacy concern is one of the details slowing down an app to trace coronavirus.
Even thought Google and Apple are involved the app would be operated through the Alabama Public Health Department. You'd have to download it and give the app permission to use your blue tooth. Then if you test positive you put that information into the app and it uses the bluetooth technology to send notices to anyone you've come in contact with in the last 14 days.
The state told WAAY31 it began considering using technology to help trace the coronaviurs because they currently have about 130 contact tracers who are tracing on top of their other work duties at the department of public health. This will take some work off of their plates and be easier to use.
Ivey said other states like North Dakota and South Carolina will start using the app too.
"Hopefully this will become an important tool in the tool kit to slow the spread of the coronaviurs by using what almost every Alabamian has in their pocket. A cellphone," said Ivey.
It's unclear when the app will be ready for people in Alabama to download. We're waiting to hear back from the department of public health on how close they are to finishing it, but again you will have to give your consent to be traced and the app will not identify you and you can turn it on and off.